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DVD Player Ownership Surpasses VCR Ownership

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the just-in-time-for-a-new-format dept.

Media 180

An anonymous reader wrote to mention an Ars Technica post stating that, for the first time, more U.S. consumers own a DVD player than own a VCR. The DVD player dropped below $100 quite some time ago, but the third quarter of this year saw the percentage of DVD player ownership reach 81.2. Only 79.2% of consumers now own VCR players, reports Nielsen. From the article: "For all of the talk about the battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray, both technologies are far, far away from most family rooms. Yes, the two are just now beginning what could be a long battle for entertainment-center supremacy, but keep in mind that the technology that they are vying to replace has only recently gained the upper hand against the previous-generation technology--a decade after first being introduced. Even if Blu-ray or HD DVD unexpectedly routs its opponent from the market in the next two or three years, it will still be several more years before the victorious format supplants the DVD."

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Question (4, Interesting)

priestx (822223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367900)

Does this count dual-players, such as a DVD-VCR combos? That's all I really use, anyways.
I'm sure if they were to count that, it wouldn't be important, as it would just even off things, but a large percentage of households actually uses both I would suspect.

Re:Question (1, Interesting)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368794)

I would imagine that's why it took so long to overtake VCR. I suppose a few young couples or something may have gotten stand-alone DVD to finally push the DVD over the top.

When i got a DVD i got a combo too. I am planning on keeping both around but i imagine many got it just in case, since the diference if any is very small. Most units i see hooked up are dual units in fact.

Of course the question may have a lot too do with it. Having a VCR is diferent than using a VCR or buying tapes. How many people HAVE a cassette player VS how many people BUY cassettes?!? I have a minicomputer but i don't buy many 8" floppy disks ;) ;)

Re:Question (1)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369430)

I would assume that a combo unit counts for both... the percentages shown definitely indicate that households owning one of each were counted in both categories, so I would think it safe to say that a combo counts for both as well.

DVD will be the winner in the HiDef War (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367918)

Since VHS is out. They win by default.

Seriously, BluRay and HD won't be common place until 2012 at this rate.

By then, we'll have iPod like devices that could hold more video than a Station wagon full of BlueRay discs.

Re:DVD will be the winner in the HiDef War (5, Funny)

CDMA_Demo (841347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367952)

No one will ever use the full capacity of BluRay station wagon.

Re:DVD will be the winner in the HiDef War (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367990)

Are you saying 640K station wagons full of BluRay* discs should be enough for anyone?

You're probably right. At least until holodeck interaction becomes common.

*Firefox's spell checker suggested BluRay should be spelled "blurry". So much for HD.

Re:DVD will be the winner in the HiDef War (2, Interesting)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368574)

Seriously, BluRay and HD won't be common place until 2012 at this rate.

And by that time everything will be streamed. Moving data around on funny plastic disks just doesn't make much sense when you have an Internet. The only reason for these formats is 1) There currently isn't enough bandwidth for everyone to stream hi-def content on-demand. 2) Content owners don't want their stuff streamed because of copyright concerns. But as hi-speed Internet access becomes as ubiquitous as DRM becomes unpopular, BluRay and HD will eventually go the way of the floppy.

Maybe there are others like me... (2, Interesting)

wikthemighty (524325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367970)

...their VCR has died recently, and they haven't bothered to replace it!

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

Shrubber (552857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368048)

...their VCR has died recently, and they haven't bothered to replace it!
That is the problem with this survey, it asks people if they own a VCR, not if they've actually used the thing in years. Having one in the house doesn't prove anything, I own a VCR and it hasn't been even plugged in in at least four years, probably a lot more. I just haven't bothered getting rid of it through sheer laziness.

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (2, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368114)

I haven't had a VCR hooked up to my entertainment system for years. When my parents recently asked if I had one they could use in the RV I had to dig it out. I never really did the rental routine and as such I found myself using one less and less, until one day I put in a new rack for my entertainment system and never migrated the VCR to it.

I long ago switched to only DVDs. I have 300+ in my collection, finally surpassing my CD collection. Now with a DVR provided by my satellite service I have no need. My parents have moved much of their VCR collection to DVD with the use of an entertainment system DVD burner. I have friends at work who moved their Disney collections for their children to DVD, taken straight from the VCR tapes. Some they bought as DVD for the extras but most moved over.

It really comes down to ease of use. Just like cassettes died eventually to CD so has VCR to DVD. When you can buy DVD recorders for less than 100 and DVRs coming as nearly standard equipment for Cable and Satellite systems it makes we wonder just how many years VCR has left.

Plus, nothing looks worse on my HD than a VCR'd movie, 'cept maybe CD based movies

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (2, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368208)

Plus, nothing looks worse on my HD than a VCR'd movie, 'cept maybe CD based movies


I thought I would agree with you, but I'm not so sure.

We (my wife and I) recently upgraded to a 720p 32" TV. We've got HD feeds via cable, and an Series 3 TiVo.

The signal looks great, and we got rid of a whole mess of VCR tapes that were just cluttering up room, but we hung on to a couple that we wanted to watch. I finally got around to hooking up the VCR via a set RCA cables and, while the picture quality certainly ain't great, it isn't as bad as I was expecting. Now part of it is probably that we are dealing with a smaller screen than most HD people seem to be getting (we just don't have the space for anything larger where we live), and part of it might be that the VCR tapes were relatively "new" (the VCR tapes were pre-recorded movies, that had probably only been seen a few times), but the end result is that the picture looked much better than I was expecting.

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368342)

VHS simple doesn't have the recording resolution. That's one of the big advantages of DVD. You got the image quality you maybe could have gotten with beta if not for the fact that it didn't win the format wars. Progressive DVDs take the most of what you could have gotten with vhs/beta and then doubles that.

Progressive DVD's on a large 720p set can look quite respectable.

If you have a tiny screen, I really can't see you percieving much benefit of HD though...

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368724)

VHS simple doesn't have the recording resolution. That's one of the big advantages of DVD.

I know VHS has a lower resolution, but what surprised me was how little it made a difference in our viewing conditions, which I hardly believe are atypical.
Not everyone in the world has the space for a 40"+ plasma TV, especially as more and more people seem to be settling for less and less space in the major metropolitan cities of the U.S., Japan, and Europe (or those wanting a second TV for the bedroom, guest-room, den, kitchen, etc.).

We chose the 32" tv because the price per screen size ratio was about right, and it was the biggest that fit in our living room.
As an added bonus, the 32" widescreen (16:9) displays standard-def (4:3) in about the same size as a standard-def 21" TV (what the new TV replaced), so there was no perceived loss of size for standard-def either.

If you have a tiny screen, I really can't see you percieving much benefit of HD though...


Well, in fairness, the widescreen aspect as a native ratio is very nice, and there is certainly SOME increase in picture quality, and we've actually got a progressive scan DVD player hooked up to the TV, but I was just surprised at how well VHS was holding up for 32" (16:9) screens at the minimum suggested viewing distances.

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368856)

I have an anecdote that supports you 100%... this was a few years ago,
one of the LotR films had just come out to rental, but we were too late for the DVD, just VHS. So, new tape, obviously, but on our 36" regular television, I remember thinking "you know, DVDs don't look much better than this".

DVDs have their advantages: pausing on a VCR does tend to look terrible, random access, enough space for amusing goodies and alternate sound tracks, and generally looking good on a bookshelf, but I'll bet you if the resolution was no better than a VCR's, the long term sales impact wouldn't have been that much.

(Heh, in fact, maybe one reason DVD is perceived as so much better is people who had to upgrade coax-only televisions to something that could at least take in RCA jacks, since Macrovision made DVD over coax a no go!)

So, overall my take is that "fidelity" is low on most people's actual buying agenda, though it gets a lot of lipservice and makes for a lot of post-facto rationalization. My favorite case-in-point is how MP3 is gaining such strides over the (I think) higher fidelity CDs. So with that said, I think BluRay and HD-DVD have a HUGE struggle ahead of them, since their *only* differentiator seems to be fidelity.

DVDs do seem to be helping to push out "fullscreen" cropping, mercifully.

On the other hand, I find it annoying that DVDs don't come with channel tuners for the most part. Though maybe I'm just a basic cable, Tivoless neanderthal.

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369210)

(Heh, in fact, maybe one reason DVD is perceived as so much better is people who had to upgrade coax-only televisions to something that could at least take in RCA jacks, since Macrovision made DVD over coax a no go!)

There are DVD players with RF encoders that can speak to your TV. Most of them are combo devices (VCR+DVD) but not all. The macrovision problem is that you can't run a DVD player into a VCR and then into your TV because the VCR will listen to your macrovision signal - but televisions ignore it.

However, you CAN get a Composite to RF adapter which will put the audio and video signals into RF, and let you use a macrovision-equipped DVD player on a coax-only TV. Good thing, because my Sony studio monitor is finally dying and my emergency replacement TV is coax-only.

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369316)

Yeah, over the years I've played with a lot of various setups. I knew I didn't *need* to upgrade from a cheap 27" to a buddha like 36" just for the macrovision'/DVD issue, but it didn't hurt.

I currently use a DVD/VCR combo in lieu of a cable box for my video projector that I use instead of a tv. And I had a box to let me plug RCA stuff into an old coax-only tv. And another box to let an old 19" surplus monitor act as a TV screen in a pinch.

I gotta admit, I don't have a strong grasp of the latest connectors. There's S-Video and Component, and my new holiday-gift-to-myself projecter has this one "DVI" input that I don't know what would use... I guess a PS3 or HD disc player?

Judging by this one football game I was seeing shown on Circuit City's big plasma and LCD wall, it seems that somewhat softer pictures are being replaced with JPEG-ish artifacts, so I'm in no hurry to upgrade to digital cable...

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369334)

I gotta admit, I don't have a strong grasp of the latest connectors. There's S-Video and Component, and my new holiday-gift-to-myself projecter has this one "DVI" input that I don't know what would use... I guess a PS3 or HD disc player?

High end PC video cards have DVI output, but yes, if it's a HDMI-equipped DVI port, a PS3 could connect through it.

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369418)

I have no idea if its HDMI equipped but I really don't know...

I would say that that kind of crap, stories of hardware not working out, could kill BlueRay/HD-DVD quick; but if the signal just "degrades gracefully", people probaby won't even notice.

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369486)

High end PC video cards have DVI output, but yes, if it's a HDMI-equipped DVI port, a PS3 could connect through it.


Or perhaps a MacMini (not at all what I would consider "high end", but certainly a possible HTPC, especially if you love iTunes).

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369726)

Quick vocabulary lesson.

DVI-- Digital Video Interface. What most of us have been using to connect LCDs to our computers. Some DVI ports have analog pins, for backwards compatibility with CRTs.

HDMI-- High Definition Multimedia Interface. Digital Video plus Digital Audio. A dongle can be used to convert it into DVI.

HDCP- High Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection. The key exchange/ encryption protocol used to encrypt DVI or HDCP. Some DVI devices can use HDCP. Most if not all HDMI devices can.

If your projector's DVI port supports HDCP, then you can connect most any HDMI source to it, with the proper cables and adaptors. Likewise, if you have a DVI source, you can connect it to a HDMI display.

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368278)

After my VCR suffered a crayon-related fatality, I simply replaced it with a DVD/VCR combo. These days, you can get one of those for maybe 10 bucks more than a standalone VCR.

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (3, Interesting)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368412)

I used to fix VCR's for the tune of half their value (hey, its business!) and quickly discovered the design is a time bomb. The rubber parts rot, the heads clog, and has a loading mechanism that's a magnet for kids to store stuff in there. Its a matter of time before the population of VCR's drop to zero. It will happen faster than the life of a lithium battery or the charges on an EPROM die out.

10 years from now, 90% of all VCR's will be out of commission. Transfer your tapes to other storage now!

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368988)

...their VCR has died recently, and they haven't bothered to replace it!
For me, I just finally got tired of watching the clock constantly flashing "12:00".

Re:Maybe there are others like me... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369470)

Then, how do you record stuff? I assume you had a VCR for recordings.

So much for the critics (1, Insightful)

AZScotsman (962881) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367972)

Wasn't it just a couple months ago that everybody was worried that the DVD format "wouldn't be very popular"....?

where is the DVR adoption? (1)

AceyMan (199978) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367974)

I'm still perplexed that there's not been faster and more widespread adoption of DVRs. As a technologist, I tend to be friends with the kinds of people who have DVRs, but I still have a hard time impressing on "regular people" how damn wonderful they are.

I got my wife a ReplayTV 3 years ago, and its been the greatest technical thing in my everyday life (other than internet access -- *maybe*) When the disk croaked a few weeks ago, we were at wits end until we got it back online. (Reimaging it on a bigger disk gave us 3x the capacity, so it turned into a net positive in the end.)

I continually explain that having a good DVR is like having refridgeration -- once you've had it, you don't see how anyone made it this far without it. To that end, my wife and I find it diffucult to watch tv away from home. ("Crap, we can't pause|jump back|jump ahead....ARrrrggghhhh")

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (0)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368056)

I'm still perplexed that there's not been faster and more widespread adoption of DVRs. As a technologist, I tend to be friends with the kinds of people who have DVRs, but I still have a hard time impressing on "regular people" how damn wonderful they are.

Until someone comes out with a DVR that can copy content to an external device (USB HDD or DVD burner) without DRM encumbrances, most people would rather use a VCR or watch pirated shows. At least content recorded on a VCR can be copied at will (Macrovision is a joke and not on TV anyway).

As far as DVRs being "great" - yeah, they're cool, but there are so many other toys that are cooler because their use doesn't involve sitting in front of the Great Glass Gazoonga(tm).

-b.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (3, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368364)

...which is why DVRs are so great.

You're no longer tied to the "Great Glass Gozoonga".

You are infact completely FREED from it.

TV on your own schedule, on your own terms.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368928)

A while back I was interested in DVRs but when I looked around they all seemed to require a monthly subscription from Tivo or some similar service. So now I have to pay a monthly cable bill AND a monthly tivo bill to be freed from the Great Glass Gogoonga? No thanks, I'll stick to dvds. That's closer to "TV on my own schedule, on my own terms." I guess I could build myself a linux DVR if I ever get around to fully researching it. Have they released any commercial DVRs that don't require a monthly service charge yet? When they do I may start to seriously consider it.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

maximthemagnificent (847709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368058)

Skipping commercials and pausing is great, but it's time-shifting that's the killer feature of
DVRs for me. I've occaisonnaly thought about what a stellite provider's service
could look like if all their customers had DVRs and a netflix-esque interface and
they then scheduled programs intentionally so the DVRs would pick the shows
up at whatever time worked out best for the most customers. Never gonna happen,
but I think it's intersting because broadcast infrastructure could be made to do
quite a bit more than it is currently.

Maxim

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368132)

Hey, I'm just now getting my techno-friends converted to DVR believers. And it's hard -- nobody understands how great they are until they spend an evening watching TV through one. A two-minute demo is just not impressive. It always starts with "Pause and rewind? BFD, I could do that with my VCR." But pause live TV while you answer the phone or go pick up another six-pack, and it becomes much cooler. Then when you play it back after you return and skip the commercials, they suddenly recognize it's the greatest invention since the remote.

The other problem is everybody knows me as a geek who just knows all this stuff, so they immediately assume it's out of their ballpark to understand. But when my wife starts recommending them, that's when it really seems to hit them that it's something they could use.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368250)

Exactly. I used to be one of those people who refused to get a DVR, because I didn't see the purpose of it. I could record shows on my VCR, after all. Seeing them in use did not convince me. It was only after actually getting one (as part of a deal when we switched from cable to DirecTV) and actually starting to use it in my own home that I saw how cool it was. Now, I can't stand watching TV without one. I have a DVR in the living room, but the TV in the bedroom just has the normal non-DVR receiver, and I hate watching TV in there. I've become almost aggressive in my hatred for having to sit through commercials. I never watch anything live anymore.

Of course, a product that seems frivolous until you actually own it can be a difficult sell.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368932)

For me it's not pausing and rewinding, it's timeshifting shows.

If I have to find something to watch when I feel like sitting down at the TV, almost every time I'll flip around a bit and give up.

With the DVR there's always something on that I want to watch, something from the History Channel that recorded at 3AM last weekend, or a Mythbusters from last night, or a show that's currently recording and started 15 minutes ago.

If I had to give up my DVR at this point, I'd probably just drop my cable subscription and watch stuff downloaded from usenet.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368142)

I don't have a DVR for a very simple reason: there's barely anything worth watching on TV. The only show I watch regularly is on at a good time (The Daily Show at 11pm). Most of the people I talk to about it find that almost everything broadcast today is crap. And there's no point in timeshifting crap.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

nra1871 (836627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368284)

There's no need for one once you cancel cable. 90% of my TV viewing comes from Netflix, which is more than paid for by the $45 a month (which seemed to be increasing by a buck every couple month, but hey, 12 more channels of women's entertainment and how to remodel your house) that I'm not giving to Time Warner. The other 10% of my viewing is filled with broadcast episodes of the Simpsons.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368294)

People who don't have DVR's don't notice that they're missing anything. You only had to see one DVD to say "Wow, it looks a zillion times better and I don't have to rewind." Not to mention that people easily slotted it into their minds as a video version of a CD - with which they were quite familiar.

OTOH, the non-technical response to DVR is - based on the anecdotes I've heard - something like my wife's:

  • Week 1 with the ReplayTV: "I hate this complicated thing. I just want to watch my shows. Why do I have to go to Video mode on the TV?"
  • Week 2 with the ReplayTV: "It's okay, I still just want to watch my shows."
  • Week 3 with ReplayTV: "If you take away my Replay I will kill you in your sleep."

It's a slow process, and people aren't willing to commit to a year's subscription on something they think is a glorified VCR (especially when digital cable already includes guide data). You need about a month with someone who knows how to use them and will show you how to do it (many misperceptions are based on the VCR model, such as not realizing you can watch a show before it finishes recording), or 2-3 months if you're learning as you go.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368958)

Week 1 with the ReplayTV: "I hate this complicated thing. I just want to watch my shows. Why do I have to go to Video mode on the TV?"

Once I hooked up the DVR box, the TV only leaves video mode to watch DVDs, and that's only because I'm too lazy to get DVD playing working right under GBPVR.

I installed GBPVR, hooked everything up, handed the remote to the kids, and they were off with zero questions. They'd be very disappointed to lose it now. They both enjoy running mini-marathons of their favorite shows occasionally.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (4, Interesting)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368658)

I'm still perplexed that there's not been faster and more widespread adoption of DVRs. As a technologist, I tend to be friends with the kinds of people who have DVRs, but I still have a hard time impressing on "regular people" how damn wonderful they are.
I'm just speculating, but I think "regular people" might be turned off by the monthly fees/subscriptions required by the most popular DVR solutions. They might be thinking: "I never had to pay $20 per month (with a 1-year commitment) [tivo.com] to use a VCR." (Yes, there are cheaper options for longer commitments. This is just an example. But "regular people" have to be convinced of its value first.)

I also think most "regular people" underestimate how much television is a part of their life. Many people like to think that television is "not important" enough to pay extra money for what they think is a slightly advanced VCR. In reality, people watch way more television than they think they do. They would probably save lots of time and enjoy their time watching television a heck of a lot more if they used a DVR.

I continually explain that having a good DVR is like having refridgeration -- once you've had it, you don't see how anyone made it this far without it. To that end, my wife and I find it diffucult to watch tv away from home.
It's not cool to admit tv is this important in our lives (I'm kidding). We should all be getting out and reading more, right?

Convincing people to pay an additional subscription to put an extra box near their television, with no new content, is a difficult task. I think free trials might do it. 30-day money-back guarantees (like the one offered by TiVo) still seem like a hassle to the unconvinced. Better competition and lower prices are also needed. The leader, TiVo, is darned expensive unless you commit to a long-term subscription. Windows XP Media Center does not require subscriptions, but not many people hook up PCs to their televisions. Cable/satellite companies can probably push free DVR trials on their customers (integrated into the set top box), but their DVRs are not nearly as usable as TiVo and ReplayTV (last time I checked).

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

rsadelle (719824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369488)

You hit the nail on the head. I would love, love, love to have a DVR. But I don't want a subscription fee. I also don't want to rely on some kind of programming guide that may or may not be there forever, I don't want something that's going to listen to the broadcast flag and delete things I've recorded, and I don't want to mess around with building my own. In my occasional haphazard research, I've yet to find anything that fits the bill, so I'm still relying on my good old VCR for the shows I absolutely refuse to miss, Netflix for the shows I think might be interesting but I don't need to see right away, and plain old TV watching for the shows I want to see sometimes and the times when I need some visual noise that I don't want to pay too much attention to.

Re:where is the DVR adoption? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368898)

Because they're not portable.

I still record on tape because it's portable.
What I record is OTA anyway so it isn't HD in my case.
I can take the tape and move it to another machine or another house and it still plays.
Is a digital solution better? Yes the the current landscape is prohibitive and doesn't cater to the consumer.

DVRs are tied to the display device or it's primary display device. Moving content is a PITA.
THAT is the reason why I haven't bought the DVR bandwagon.
And then, only HD-DVRs are worth the hassle.

Sony tries.. and tries... and tries (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367978)

But then.. who can blame them?

Anyone want to take a ballpark guess what kind of ROI they land if every movie studio had to license Blu-Ray on every movie they released to disc?

I'm guessing (purely from the posterior region) it'd land in the Billions over the life of the product.

-GiH

Slashdot tries.. and tries...and tries,,,and fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17369552)

And for the one millionth time Sony wasn't the ONLY ONE who developed and supported Blu-ray.

As if Millions of... (1)

suiside (910651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368014)

...magnetic tapes suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Re:As if Millions of... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368648)

Ahh! That's where I left my bulk eraser! I've been looking all over for that.

I will "upgrade" when... (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368024)

it will still be several more years before the victorious format supplants the DVD.

I will "upgrade" to the best HD format only when it counts as an actual upgrade - Meaning I can play it, in full resolution, on a Linux box.

Note that I don't include the word "legally" in that condition... A broken-feature-reenabling ripper (like DVD Decrypter used to do for region coding, macrovision, and button lockout) will work just as well as an authorized player.

So, which group will give me what I want first? Sony, Toshiba, or DVD-Jon? The winner takes all.

Re:I will "upgrade" when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17368610)

So, which group will give me what I want first? Sony, Toshiba, or DVD-Jon? The winner takes all.

There's not going to be a "all keys are broken" situation like with DVDs, so you might as well start downloading HDTV vids (about 10-15GB each in either MPEG2 or H.264) already, they're not that hard to find. Expect quality not too far from the first Blu-Ray vids (~20GB in MPEG2), not as good as the best HD-DVD/Blu-Ray has to offer but it blows DVDs out of the water. 720p reencodes are also quite nice, usually 1GB/ep. or 4.3GB/movie. VLC is an excellent player for these files, though most others should work too.

But the DVD has is own issues... (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368034)

Much as I love the features of the DVD if paired with an equally capable player, the DVD has its own [ugly] issues. Despite the fact that it's a modern invention, nobody can even come close to guaranteeing that the DVD medium (the disc) can withstand storage for long times.

Can any slashdotter convince me that if I had properly stored important video media on a disc in say 20 years ago, this disc would still be readable now? With proper storage, the video cartridge would still be readable now after that long. This is my beef with DVDs.

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

maximthemagnificent (847709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368094)

20 years? Sure thing. Rip it to a hard drive. Embrace the digital nature olf the DVD!

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368148)

20 years? Sure thing. Rip it to a hard drive. Embrace the digital nature olf the DVD!

Oh, rip to a hard drive! What a suggestion! So that if I have to demo something to a remote community, I have to make sure they have a working computer I can open up in order to install the HD? Think about it, is this really practical in the modern world?

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

neimon (713907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368220)

What? I'm sure that's Nasa's plan for all its video. When have THEY ever messed up?

Re:When have THEY ever messed up? (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368442)

Well they did misplace/loose the masters of the moon landings.

Re:When have THEY ever messed up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17368758)

Well they did misplace/loose the masters of the moon landings.

I don't recall hearing that they were loosed. And I suspect that if they were loosed, they would have been quite easy to capture. I mean, how far do tapes roam in search of food?

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368346)

Ever hear of a portable drive? Ipod? Laptop with Wireless?

In any case, I have a feeling the days when you can whip out a chunky old videocassette to demo anything are seriously numbered. In many trades already, doing so could get you laughed out of the room as if you brought a can of Super-8 film.

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (3, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368962)

The G.P. was talking about storing material today and retrieving it 20 years from now. A hard drive is actually a very poor solution for archival of material. First, drive technology has advanced dramatically in the last 20 years. It continues to advance dramatically -- compare the commonly produced sizes now to those made just 5 years ago, let alone 20 years.

Electrically, the interfaces have changed, too. You'd be very hard-pressed to find a modern machine that's capable of reading from an old Winchester drive -- the ST-506 interface is dead and buried, and the adapter cards that spoke ST-506 were made only in the era of 8-bit ISA bus machines; you won't find a PCI card that supports them. ATA came along, and has advanced to ATA-6. Now we have SATA, which begs the question of how long PATA will live. Do you want to bet your future retrieval of the data to finding an ancient machine that can read SATA on the 2026 equivalent of eBay?

There are plenty of physical reasons not to use hard drives as an archival medium, too. You'd probably be hard-pressed to find an old Winchester drive that could spin up today after sitting idle for 20 years. Drives manufactured back then suffered from stiction, which was caused by lubricants that sat idle for too long. Do you know what's wrong with the longevity of data on drives manufactured today? I don't. Will today's lubricants still flow freely in 2026? Will the platters, heads and mechanics survive the years uncorroded? Will the electrolytic capacitors still hold a charge? Will the connectors have shifted due to thermal expansion and contraction? Will the magnetic fields of some bits have dissipated due to their proximity to other bits? Will the adhesive holding the media to the platters have broken down?

And Google for "maxtor sucks" if you want to read horror stories of people losing data due to the death of a hard drive.

I'm not saying Super-8 is the way to go, but it's still possible to get the data from it. Will the same be true of floppy discs, ZIP disks, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and all the burnable variants of DVDs including +/-, DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM?

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369258)

Do you want to bet your future retrieval of the data to finding an ancient machine that can read SATA on the 2026 equivalent of eBay?

You don't need to find a machine that can read SATA; just a machine that can read USB or Firewire, which will probably be pretty easy. USB might only be available via a bridge from whatever we're using in the future but it'll be around for a long time just as the RS-232 bus is still around today in spite of the existence of superior alternatives. Finding a drive for a backup tape will be harder than finding an interface for a hard disk.

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368394)

So that if I have to demo something to a remote community
...
is this really practical in the modern world?


"Remote community" and "modern world" contradict one another here.

You've hypothesized the existance of someplace that has the technological resources to run a TV and DVD player, but where your laptop (with far more flexible power requirements) won't work?

Furthermore, you can always re-burn the content if you absolutely need a physical DVD, at a cost of less than 25 cents (USD) per disc.



That said, I do appreciate your original point. The physical media won't last forever; but that holds just as true for analog tape-based media as it does for polycarbonate discs. That also holds true for HDDs. So to literally answer the original (probably rhetorical) question - No one can make that guarantee. All current forms of media will decay over time.

I believe the GP's point, however, relies on the ease of transfer... Until we eventually come up with some truly durable form of archival storage (which with the increasingly digital nature of our culture, we must eventually do so or risk leaving no records for the future), We have one and only one choice for preserving such material - redundant lossless serial copies.

Given that, it takes a lot less time and effort to duplicate a HDD containing a hundred ripped DVDs than it does to rip and reburn that same hundred physical discs.

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (2, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368506)

"Remote community" and "modern world" contradict one another here.

I beg to disagree with you here and say "Not necessarily."

There is a remote community in Namibia that I visited. These folks live in canyons in a very arid and cold part of the desert. I can assure you that they had every modern amenity known to the western world, everything powered by the sun. I was surprised myself and loved it. The question is, if I found that they did not have a computer ready to be opened up, this would mean 18 hours to get to the nearest town.

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (3, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368572)

If only there were some sort of portable computer that could fit on one's lap...a "laptop" if you will...that could be carried to remote locations like this. Or perhaps someone could come up with some way to attach an internal device like a hard drive to an external port on a standard PC. Perhaps some sort of enclosure with an external connector. Sort of like what the GP mentioned.

Oh hell, that's all just fantasy anyway. The very idea of such useful technology is absurd.

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368410)

Or you could just bring your own...

Lan Party PC, Laptop, suitable portable DVD player, suitable media player, bus powered USB drive.

It's not like it's 1995.

If it's really the sort of backwater you're implying, your best off
bringing your own hardware anyways. They might not even have a DVD
player.

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

maximthemagnificent (847709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369288)

Works for me. I never watch DVDs in a DVD player. I like to watch them at
25% greater speed (Quicktime has this capability without it sounding like
Alvin & The Chipmunks).

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369098)

The guy on the Digital Production Buzz radio show said that his DVDs had survived over five years being improperly stored in hot and humid warehouse, without glitch.

I don't use optical media for backups. I just keep them on-line on my main storage, plus an off-line external hard drive and a RAID-5 that's a ways away. I figure that I have to lose a minimum of four drives in order to lose any data, and I think that would take a pretty major catastrophe that I might not survive in order to lose data.

Re:But the DVD has is own issues... (1)

Stormwave0 (799614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369452)

Now I'm not too familiar with storing VHS tapes, but wouldn't a DVD last much longer than a video tape? I mean, with the tape you'll have a definite degrade in quality over time. With the DVD, however, everything is digital. Now I know there's a risk that the DVD might not work over time due to whatever issue. But I find it hard to believe you could make an argument that a VHS tape would last just as long without a noticeable degrade in quality.

Bad comparison, perhaps? (2, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368040)

DVDs beat the pants off of VCRs in the following areas:

Image quality.
Random access.
Extra features on-media.

VCRs still cling to live mainly because it doesn't cost anything to not throw them away, and because of recording.

Let me know when the number of PVRs outnumbers the number of VCRs. That's when the transition will truly be complete.

Of couse p2p Video on Demand services (as represented by YouTube and BitTorrent piracy networks) probably blows both away in the middle to long run.

20 years? Yeah, why not? (1)

Fezmid (774255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368136)

If you're talking about burned disks, then maybe not. But the pressed ones? Yeah, no problem. Do you have any CDs that are over 20 years old? They play fine and DVD is extremely similar. There's been some isolated mentions of "DVD rot" but I'm not buying into that. I have disks that are ~8 years old and they work fine; I have no reason to believe that they won't last another 12.

Tapes are actually worse, IMHO -- get a magnet too close to a tape and you can demagnetize it. Just don't scratch your DVD and it'll be fine.

Re:Bad comparison, perhaps? (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368288)

Mmmm.. Thank you captain obvious. But unless by some miracle GooTube streams at a higher bitrate than it currently does and we peons of the end user world have a faster connection, Gootube will never be an acceptable alternative for the home-theater setup. Also- don't confuse computer-targeted media systems with home theaters. I know that those lines are almost non-existant, but the average person thinks a torrent is a vehicle by Pontiac. Granted, some tvrips are close in quality to the HD-TV originals... but they have a learning curve associated with using them.

And no subscriptions. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369490)

And VCRs don't require monthly subscription fees. Hence, why I haven't gotten a DVR. Sure, I can build my own, but that's too much work. I just want a hardware based device PVR, and not a computer based.

Re:Bad comparison, perhaps? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369512)

Frankly I don't think the image quality matters that much. It doesn't matter in most situations or to most people. But the random access (from whence most of the "special features" of which you speak are derived) is a huge deal. The other big deal is the fact that it supports multiple streams; you can select one of many audio and/or video streams, and you can select one or more subtitle streams. That's a really big deal.

backwards compatibility (2, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368068)

I dont think the old metric will make much sense with these new HD players. When released they'll probably be able to play both HD (bluray, hddvd, whahever) and standard DVDs. There will be no reason to keep a stand-alone DVD player. They'll just end up as hand me downs to the kids or collect dust.

  After a while the HD players will be cheap enough that it will be smart futureproofing to buy a HD player without a HDtv, in the hopes that your next tv will be HD. Hell, there's no shortage of component out dvd players plugged in with composite cables or through RF converter boxes.

It's not just the player (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17368086)

Its the pressed media price and everything else. Thats what finally got me. I found VHS/DVD combos just under $100 and my Best Buy offered almost anything I wanted in my library for $10 (simply watching weekly specials) and around $20 for special things or multi-part stuff. I finally said why not. With blank media prices around a quarter or less and burner prices under $50, I finally made the leap. A perfect DVD storm had approached and it only happened to me last spring. And normally I am not a luddite, my computer and gizmos stay leading edge, but DVD needed to put the whole package together.

Now blu-ray and HD-DVD have a lot of work to do. The pressed media prices seem 5x higher than DVD. The players 10x higher. The burners 10x higher. The media I have no idea. The massive back catalogs may takes years to build. And the copy protection will have to be broken. I bet this all takes more than the 10 years it took for DVD.

And the displays that are the platform for all this hi-def are still not ready for prime time. These impress the street, but us computer users have been running CRTs with these display capabilities for decades and in some ways 720p on an LCD is a step back.

Not too surprising (0, Troll)

Have Blue (616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368118)

DVD isn't a replacement for a VCR, since it can't record and only relatively recently has it become possible for the average Joe to put his own videos (from a camcorder) onto DVDs that play in a normal player.

Re:Not too surprising (3, Funny)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368720)

Then what do I do on my DVD recorder with DVD-RW discs?

-uso.

Re:Not too surprising (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369302)

Not only are you apparently smoking crack WRT the issue of recording on DVD overall, but there are actually several consumer-level camcorders that record video directly to a mini DVD. In other words, the total steps to get DVD content from the camcorder to a normal DVD player is to record some video, yank out the disc, and slap it into the player. Nice try though. Are you a troll, or are you just living under a rock? You apparently have internet access yet are completely uninformed, that's pretty amazing.

Blue Ray this, HD-DVD that... (4, Insightful)

RiotXIX (230569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368150)

Jeez, give it a rest. I have money, but do you honestly think I'm going to subscribe to another new format for at least 10 years? We aren't all tech-writers. I might just skip this technology fasion trend and go for the one in one or two generations, just like I will with consoles. And even then I'll be content with my DVD library. Just like I am with CD-audio quality and good speakers. And I'm speaking as a tech nerd as well. Uprgrading would simply be burning money, which I don't feel, whether I had the money or not, would be a good idea.

Re:Blue Ray this, HD-DVD that... (2, Interesting)

bigpat (158134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368456)

There are people who are desperate to get as many articles on Blue Ray and HD-DVD written in order to push both the format of the media and HD technology in general. There are 10s, if not 100s, of billions of dollars at stake and plenty of marketing money to grease tech writers and publishers wheels. The government too has a horse in this race as digital television must not only succeed but at least appear to be popular in the market to justify the forced change over to HD that is taking place. Eventually consumers will have better choices. Right now it isn't a question of whether HD is better for viewing video or not, but at this point it seems that the price isn't worth the product. To spend thousands of dollars before you even start talking about the cost of the actual content that will be displayed on the technology, simply isn't a type of math that most people can afford to do. For now you will have a steadily increasing minority switching over to HD TVs, but for most people they are going to be much better off spending their technology dollars on lower priced computer equipment where they can be both entertained and productive, rather than the entertainment dollar black hole which is what HDTV is all about.

Re:Blue Ray this, HD-DVD that... (1)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368460)

You are 100% dead on.

Re:Blue Ray this, HD-DVD that... (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369570)

Can one be only 50% dead on?

Re:Blue Ray this, HD-DVD that... (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368918)

HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are not consumer driven technologies even though there are some consumers who have been waiting for High-Def content for nearly a decade. These formats are being driven by media companies (who need you to re-buy ET, Starwars and The Fifth Element every few years to boost their profit margin) and electronics manufacturers (who lost a lot of money when people stoped buying Sony DVD players and started buying Apex Digital DVD players).

The question is whether the existence of a HD format will drive people to want a HD format? There are previous formats (DVD-Audio, SACD, Laser Disc) which failed to be adopted even though they were being pushed by electronics and media corporations.

Surprising (1)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368168)

I thought this had already happened a while ago. I remember walking through WalMart they other day and seeing a DVD player for around $70 and thinking of how affordable they have gotten. They technology is more reliable, I'd even say that for VCRs made recently. I still can't believe my PS2 still plays DVDs after 4 years. And it's been shipped halfway around the world, been left on for days, manhandled by my children, etc. I guess while "they don't make them like they used to" is true for cars, it doesn't apply to high-tech items.

Re:Surprising (1)

rk (6314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368276)

I guess it's all luck of the draw. My PS2, not manhandled by kids, only occasionally used, and never left on didn't last two years. Maybe it died of loneliness.

Re:Surprising (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368522)

$70? Try $40 man. $40 DVD players can be found at almost any electronics store now. (Not that I buy the cheapest ones... I like features.)

As for VHS hardware quality... DVD players (even the $40 ones) FAR beat the VHS player quality and have for quite some time. I'd even go as far as to say that really OLD VHS players were a lot better quality than what we have today. I still remember when my parents replaced the old top-loading VCR with a new front-load model, because we'd had that old one for SO long. The new one lasted less than 2 years, if I remember right. And every one since hasn't lasted more than that. (Including the dvd/vcr combo I bought my Mom last Christmas. Dead in 6 months of almost no use.)

I think the disparity in quality is for a simple reason: DVD parts are easier to make and don't need maintenance. Sure, they MAKE dvd cleaners... But they aren't necessary, unlike VCR cleaners were.

Re:Surprising (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368692)

For $40 after rebate you can get a fancy-pants Divx/XVid-playing DVD player at Circuit City (DVP642). The bottom-of-the-barrel ones are coming in at $25-$30 nowadays.

Re:Surprising (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368860)

Actually, I meant without a rebate... and yeah, most of the cheap ones play divx now. I was amazed when I saw the first one. Now I'm disgusted whenever I find one that didn't bother.

Re:Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17369180)

actually modern cars a blessing. in the past they broke down all the time. Had to get oil changes every 3000 miles.

The fact you now only have to service a car once every year or two would seem like a modern miracle to someone living in the 60s.

Re:Surprising (1)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369540)

"in the past they broke down all the time."
 
Only if you didn't take care of them. And you should still get oil changes every 3000 miles. I doubt your car will last long only being serviced once every year or two. Back in the day anyone could repair their own car with a little know how. Today's cars are heavily dependent on computers and electronics. They're getting less mechanical every year, that makes them more complicated to fix. I had a 1984 Caprice Classic that I got used in 1991, never once broke down on me. I gave it to my brother-in-law in 2000 and he didn't take care of it and it went down the shitter.

What do combo units count as ? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368180)

As there are combo DVD and VCR's as well as TV, DVD, and VCR Combos.

I am pretty sure (2, Insightful)

dizzy8578 (106660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368218)

these stats do not include the half dozen dead cheap dvd players I have sitting in the garage.

I don't care if it is a brand name of not, the cheap crap or the expensive dvd recorder/tuner, they all lasted just a few days longer than the warranty.

I use the computer to play dvds. At least the internal drives are cheap enough to replace when they die.

Computers Anyone? (1)

jyuter (48936) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368232)

I'm going to assume they're not counting computers or laptops (heck even throw in those portable DVD players) since those alone should outnumber VCR's. Given that more people are watching DVD's through different technologies I question if the standalone DVD player is a useful metric.

Does it consider.... (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368246)

The usage of said VCR. My parents are one of those that own a VCR, but it does not get any usage. They were just talking about that this last weekend that they would probably get rid of it by donating it to Good Will or something like that because it has more usefulness as a tax write off that playing a video.

So, this study begs the question, of those that do own the VCR, how many actually still use it? I would dare say that it would be pretty scant because of the ubiquitousness and superiority of the DVD.

Re:Does it consider.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17369728)

Well, dvr's dont seem to be the ticket for my family and others that I know.

The reason is really simple but seems to be opaque to a lot of slashdotters. Multiple VCRs and multiple TVs and you can watch the recorded Tape anywhere. Havent rented or bought a tape or dvd in ages. The VCR is used for recording shows. Then you play it back whereever you happen to be in the house doing something that doesnt require full attention.

Devoting 100% of a timeslot to watching ANY TV is just not feasible. Noone I know ever "sets down" and just watches a show. My wife watches her shows in the kitchen or in the laundry room or in the bedroom while on the computer. Occasionally a VCR tape is watched in the Family Room or while I am out in my Shop. A DVD wont record so that is out, and a DVR is only in one place.

She was interested until I explained that you would be tied to one room (dont give me BS about video over ethernet - no easy multiple end point remote capability). So VCRs are in my future. I keep hoping someone will come up with a cheap DVD recorder but I suspect the media companies would never let that happen. I also suspect that VCRs would not be possible in todays DRM'ed climate.

That makes me a VCR purchaser for as long as they are available.

By the way, that is why I have analog cable. Digital cable would force me to have 5 tuners. Not worth the problems and rental costs. The recorded shows are from the major networks. While I do watch some other channels they are background fodder while on the computer.

Why I wait (1)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368348)

Even if Blu-ray or HD DVD unexpectedly routs its opponent from the market in the next two or three years, it will still be several more years before the victorious format supplants the DVD.

Which is exactly why I'm going to be waiting "several more years" before I bother getting a "next-gen" DVD player.

Even less.... (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368376)

The percentage would probably be even less if you discounted those who have VCRs on their equipment shelf just because they're too lazy to remove them.
I have one on my rack, and the only reason I've put a tape in it for the last couple of years was to convert some VHS tapes to DVD for a friend. If there are still tapes around the house, they're in a box in the basement just waiting to be thrown out.

The last possible reason for using it went away when I put the DVR box in place. I'm happy not to be screwing around with worrying about bad quality tapes anymore.

Once I got all the episodes of MST3K downloaded and onto DVD, why would I need my VCR anymore?

Probably like my parents... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368488)

...the DVD player was no substitute for a VCR, but the DVR they bought is. Just because you don't use the recording capability doesn't mean that others do. Personally, I don't watch much broadcast TV because it comes way too late. Did it air in the US/UK yesterday? Do the people I know online talk about it? Yes. Do I want to be left out "Yeah I'll comment on that in a year... maybe"? No. That means I'm going to get it, your only choice is how. Movie theaters have already figured this out, TV stations must be slow learners.

$150 hd-dvd player (2, Insightful)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368900)

I was in Best Buy a couple of days ago and saw Microsoft's 360 HD-DVD player for $150. Anandtech had given it a favorable review [anandtech.com] and noted that the player could just as easily be hooked up to PC as an xbox. If you already have a hi def screen with an xbox it seems to be a slam dunk purchase. If you don't have the xbox but you have a sufficiently robust pc, you can either watch hi def on your computer monitor or, if your setup allows it, on your HD screen via your PC.

Lots of folks are hedging as to which format will win out but my impression is that if you can buy a player for $150 that gives you an image that's equivalent to a solution that costs 4 times as much and is unavailable, that gives a huge boost to HD-DVD. I say "equivalent" because the initial side by side reviews don't give either format an edge. Another factor is Netflix - you can rent either format from them so your exposure to risking committing to a dead end format is substantially reduced. When the first players came out at $1,000 not many people bit. Now that you can get one player at $150, it strikes me a lot more people will make the jump and it isn't going to be to Blu-Ray.

Re:$150 hd-dvd player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17369126)

Well, you have to buy an XBox 360 first, or put a PC in your living room. Geeks may latch on but it's far from a general solution.

Ownership vs. Usership (1)

DaSH Alpha (979904) | more than 7 years ago | (#17368924)

We own 2 VCRs that we haven't used (for the most part) in years since we have DVD players, a Tivo, Media Center pc, etc now. It isn't surprising that ownership of DVD players just passed that of VCRs, but I bet usership of DVD players surpassed that of VCRs a while back- a few years maybe I would guess...

Will it really? (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369042)

it will still be several more years before the victorious format supplants the DVD.

If ever. This particular format war isn't being handled very well, it seems to me. Such conflicts are invariably bad for the consumer in the short run since we have to guess which tech will come out on top and whoever guesses wrong gets his fingers burnt. Why can't they all just get along? PICK ONE! I don't really care which at this point. Is it just that Sony is still smarting from the Betamax fiasco? If it turns out after all this hate and discontent that the consumer doesn't find a use for the next-generation of shiny plastic discs it'll be just too bad. Worse for them, sooner or later China is going to be able to foist their version of a next-gen SPD (Shiny Plastic Disc) on the world. They'd better just get with the program and give the consumer what he and she wants now. Period. Or they may find their own technologies irrelevant.

Re:Will it really? (2, Insightful)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369730)

I just realized the other day that this Bluray vs HD-DVD competition isn't a bad thing for consumers. It's actually a great thing. With the Beta/VHS competition consumers suffered because there was no cheap way to make a player that could play both formats. But the Bluray and HD-DVD discs are physically identical in shape (I think) and could probably both be easily read by a single player. What this means is that there will be real competition and therefore lower prices. As soon as one format starts to show signs of loosing the competition, it will be licensed to be incorporated into combo players and your movie collection will still be usable. The only problems I can see are that if all the movie studios don't support both formats then your selection of movies may be limited until you get a combo player or buy one of both, and that if you choose the wrong format you may have to buy a combo player to replace the first player you bought. But those costs are probably very small compared to the savings resulting from the competition.

$20 DVD player (2, Insightful)

GregoryD (646395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369208)

My local superstore carries a very generic DVD player for $29.99 regular price and they have gone on sale for $19.99. That is absolutely nuts you can get a player at less then the cost of some DVDs.

VHS is fine for disposable viewings. (1)

burnerO (897015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369412)

Since we watch a ton of movies at home, it's nice to be able to pick up tapes for $1. I can purchase used DVDs for $5, but at a dollar a piece I'll get anything on VHS.

Stats off? (1)

Vadim Makarov (529622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17369676)

Have they counted DVD-ROM computer drives? (And, for that matter, PCs hooked up to plasma screens?) I guess no. Why I'd be getting a TV set just to play a movie? No thanks, the computer does this just fine, and with better image quality.

Just by looking around the media stores, I gather DVDs have trumped VHS years ago.
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